You know you have been thinking about it; your first website. I see you sitting there… It’s late night; you’re surfing on the TV. You stop on an advertisement for “DIY” web builder. It’s almost like an ad for an online dating service. It is alluring, it’s sexy, it’s easy and it’s everything you think you want in a website for your business. The next morning, still excited by the prospect of being “online” with your product or service, you’re ready to click that sign-up button at DIY and sign up for their small business package. Maybe, like me, you are a writer and an artist and you figure “How hard could it really be?”
I see your finger hovering over that mouse…STOP! DO NOT CLICK THAT! I know; I’ve been there… I built one of those sites. It’s still out there, I think, roaming around the digital blue. What I really needed was my own web team. A team provided by a professional web firm working to make my online presence the best it can be. OH? You don’t need all that? Let’s ask a few questions…
What do you want your website to DO?
DIY only wants to know what the site they provide IS. A drop box at DIY only asks you to LABEL your product or service. Your web team will be asking you what is it that you want your business to DO. Do you want to bring in more online sales? Are you hoping to generate more walk-in traffic in your brick and mortar? Do you need a place to direct questions about prices, business hours or other client information? These and other concerns are queried to make sure your site is designed to meet your specific needs. A professional web firm will create a site to suit your business based on questions that you may not have even asked yourself.
What do you want your site to show off?
OK, I know DIY has come a long way in visual quality. To say otherwise would not play fair. But let’s be honest, there is quality in quantity as well. DIY site builders must gear the components of their site to the limitations of the user. That user is usually NOT proficient in website design. So, in today’s DIY market this often means a finite amount of templates, graphics and fonts are restricted to drop boxes, etc. so as not to overwhelm the user. Many times the fonts and colors that are part of your brand are not available and you have to substitute with the closest available graphics. If allowed to load certain fonts or pictures, will the DIY builder allow these to set up properly in the limited template selections? Will the color be the right hue? Will the text look crowded or look stretched out? Your web team is not held hostage by these restrictions.
Think about the websites you have visited. The way they look, the way you navigate on, it is important. How many times have you left a site within a few minutes because it seems to “just not work right?” Your web team understands the importance of navigation, color scheme, and text. Your web team is able to adjust for special needs, such as logos and precise colors that forward your brand while making sure your site is user-friendly.
Do you have the time to mess with “all this”?
This is a huge section because this is a huge component of a successful online presence. The site is set up and you may love it, but do you have the time to read up on changing technologies? Will you keep up with the updates in content and marketing? What about SEO compliance? Do you even want to know what SEO is?
A website is never complete. Think about all the changes that happen every month in your own industry. Your website must have continual maintenance to keep up with these trends. Consider your own fresh ideas and the updating of these changes as well.
Updating New Technology…
On top of this, internet technology changes every single day. Something you used from the DIY builder on day one may be obsolete the next. Many DIY site builders do not update for improvements in video, RSS feeds, or links. Those that do may not send out information about the changes you need to make to your site for the best presence. Your web team is constantly monitoring the changes in technology to keep your website current.
Search Engine Optimization…
Now, what about Search Engine Optimization, (SEO)? DIY will tell you it is just about using a few keywords to get your website “found”. This is a great end-user blurb but is completely inaccurate. SEO is a technique used by search engine algorithms to rank websites as people search for needed information. Let me admit right here: I had NO IDEA what this really means. I had to ask one of my web team members to explain SEO to me. The explanations I read at several DIY builders was not sufficient for me to understand how to get my site to rank properly.
After speaking with my web team member, I realized that the few times I attempted keyword work on my DIY site; I was drowning and didn’t even know it! I figured that one or two words thrown in the drop box provided would suffice. The techniques used by your web firm are not just dropping box add in words. Your web team looks at the entire marketing potentials your SEO can bring you. Your web team is looking at which terms and groups of words are being used to do online searches and constantly adjusting the keyword combinations to give your website a foothold in the search engine ranking. The web team’s job is to take the time to watch the trends in your industry and changes in online technology.
And one last thought:
You DO have the time to mess with this…One of the biggest hurdles for small business for hiring a web team is cash. That’s probably why you considered DIY in the first place. It can be tempting to give the lowest bid your business or to think the highest bid means a better web team.Do not rely on the amount of cash you will pay out as your yardstick. This is the point where you need to take some time and do your research. Talk with the teams you are interested in hiring. Ask to see how current sites are performing. Look for testimonials. Ask yourself if you mesh well with the outreach, member of the team. Remember, this will be YOUR team. Your website can be an amazing tool for your business. So, close that DIY page and find an amazing web firm to take charge of it!